Figures released by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development indicated a range of export products continue to suffer from the effects of COVID-19.
KAMPALA - Uganda's earnings from exports declined by 34.3% in April compared to March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts businesses and several supply chains.
Figures released by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, indicated a range of export products continue to suffer from the effects of COVID-19.
Export earnings hit to $207.15m in April, down from $315.52m in March 2020. Coffee, one of Uganda's leading exports by 19.5%, fetching the country only $36.9m in April from $45.8m in March.
COVID-19 lockdowns by governments left several business hubs, hotels and restaurants empty.
According to economic experts at PwC: "China is a major market for Uganda coffee and Uganda was to be the portrait country at this year's Expo. This was going to give our country a great opportunity for increased awareness, visibility and market penetration in the China and Asia Pacific speciality coffee market."
Between April and March 2020, several export commodities such as cotton, oil re-exports, beans, fish, base metals and their products registered sharp declines.
For instance, cotton exports declined by 81.7%, fish and its products (41.5%), beans (70.1%), Tobacco (24.1%), Maize (20.8%), Sim sim (54.7%) among others.
"Just like in the recent months, export receipts continued to decline in April 2020 (both on a monthly and annual basis) as Uganda continues to suffer from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some export commodities like coffee, sim sim and tobacco grew during the month compared to April 2019," the report said.
In April 2020, imports amounted to $334.36m, a decrease of 32% from $491.49m recorded the previous month. Both Government and private sector imports declined.
"Government imports declined by 38.5% driven by a drop in project imports, whereas private sector imports fell by 30.7% as both oil and non-oil imports recorded reductions," the report said.
There were drops in mineral products (excluding petroleum products), petroleum products, machinery equipment, vehicles & accessories base metals and their products and chemical and related products.
Currently, about 42% of all the tax collected in Uganda is from international trade. This tax is mainly in the form of VAT and import duty on imports, and excise duty on the importation of petroleum products according to PwC.
"A slowdown in international trade as a result of the coronavirus is likely to have a massive negative impact to tax collections this year," PwC said.